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  1. #1
    Seņor Member c_dinsmore's Avatar
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    illegal to lock to a lightpost

    hey, i live in grand rapids, mi. the other day my friend was told it's illegal to lock his bike to a streetlight post. is there any validity to this? thanks much, brothers/sisters.
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    Just do the "I'm an ass" sign.
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  2. #2
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    And did your Google search result in a answer certain for the OP?

  4. #4
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    If it is illegal, that is precisely the sort of law which should be repealed to help encourage transportation cycling.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  5. #5
    Senior Member StrangeWill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    If it is illegal, that is precisely the sort of law which should be repealed to help encourage transportation cycling.
    Why should it be? You shouldn't be able to just chain your bike up wherever you want to in the interests of encouraging cycling.

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    Sometime within the last year, I saw a paper attached to a bike chained to a tree outside Whole Foods in Portland's Pearl District. Somebody else saw it too, and wasn't shy about picking it up and reading it-- it was a warning from a private security firm that they would cut the locks of any bikes that aren't locked to bike racks.

    The problem is, there aren't enough bike racks to accommodate demand. And to add insult to injury, the neighborhood association has opposed efforts to increase bike parking by removing one curbside parking spot for cars and replacing it with curbside bike parking.

    So instead of pursuing the obvious solution-- creating enough bike parking space to meet the demand-- they hire rent-a-cops to go around and cut people's locks.


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    I live in Lansing. I don't think there's any statute making it illegal. There very well could be a city ordinance making it illegal. Grand Rapids is pretty conservative. Check at the police station or at the office of the city attorney. Good luck.

  8. #8
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    These "you can't park your bike here" laws really need a "you can't enforce this law unless bike parking is provided and available" clause. It amazes me how many place have laws that prohibit bike parking and no laws that require bike parking to be built or policies that install bike parking.
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  9. #9
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    As I read the law, it is not clear - they seem to have a law that makes it illegal to NOT lock your bike and to leave it on the sidewalk, and ordinances which tell you not to lock your bike in a manner in which it would obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic, so I can see how depending on the location of the light post, it might not be legal to lock it to the light post.

    I have never been to grand rapids, but from reading their bicycle law leaflet, it looks like a place with more laws than bike racks.

  10. #10
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    And did your Google search result in a answer certain for the OP?
    "Sec. 10.137. Parking.
    No person shall park a bicycle upon a roadway except against and parallel with the curb. Bicycles may be parked upon a sidewalk in a rack provided for such purposes, or against a building in such a manner as to afford the least obstruction to vehicular or pedestrian traffic. (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)"

    What do you think?

    The point I was making was for legal questions,you should check the law. All 50 states have their codes online,as well as a good number of cities. This will give you the correct answer,vs internet opinions.

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  11. #11
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Sometime within the last year, I saw a paper attached to a bike chained to a tree outside Whole Foods in Portland's Pearl District. Somebody else saw it too, and wasn't shy about picking it up and reading it-- it was a warning from a private security firm that they would cut the locks of any bikes that aren't locked to bike racks.
    In their defence,we have an ordinance in DC against locking to trees under a certain size. This is because if you lock to a small tree,a thief can easily cut it down. So you not only lose the bike,but a tree gets ruined.

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  12. #12
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    "Sec. 10.137. Parking.
    No person shall park a bicycle upon a roadway except against and parallel with the curb. Bicycles may be parked upon a sidewalk in a rack provided for such purposes, or against a building in such a manner as to afford the least obstruction to vehicular or pedestrian traffic. (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)"

    What do you think?

    The point I was making was for legal questions,you should check the law. All 50 states have their codes online,as well as a good number of cities. This will give you the correct answer,vs internet opinions.
    What do you think - your post and link provide no direct information as to the legality or illegality of locking a bike to a lightpost. So your post was worthless on the subject in this thread. Did you consider that maybe the OP did read Ord. No. 75-7 and since it only said a couple of ways cyclist MAY park on a sidewalk and listed NO Prohibitions except on the roadway (defined in most states as shoulder marking to shoulder marking) that the OP figured he would ask the forum, to gain a broader prospective on the subject.

    If your google search provided a definitive answer, then post that, rather than being a wise ass.

  13. #13
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    In their defence,we have an ordinance in DC against locking to trees under a certain size. This is because if you lock to a small tree,a thief can easily cut it down. So you not only lose the bike,but a tree gets ruined.
    I did not know DC ordinances applied in Portland's Pearl District.

  14. #14
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    What do you think - your post and link provide no direct information as to the legality or illegality of locking a bike to a lightpost. So your post was worthless on the subject in this thread. Did you consider that maybe the OP did read Ord. No. 75-7 and since it only said a couple of ways cyclist MAY park on a sidewalk and listed NO Prohibitions except on the roadway (defined in most states as shoulder marking to shoulder marking) that the OP figured he would ask the forum, to gain a broader prospective on the subject.

    If your google search provided a definitive answer, then post that, rather than being a wise ass.
    I thought the ordinance was pretty clear.

    And please note that I did something to answer the OP's question. You've done nothing except hammer on me.

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    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    I did not know DC ordinances applied in Portland's Pearl District.
    Never said they did. Was merely expressing why they may have done it. Maybe they don't want bikes parked to trees because they don't want the trees damaged/cutdown by improper locking or thieves trying to get the bike. Or maybe they don't want bikes parked everywhere interfering with foot traffic or creating clutter.

    Srsly,my posts wound you up that much? C'mon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    In their defence,we have an ordinance in DC against locking to trees under a certain size. This is because if you lock to a small tree,a thief can easily cut it down. So you not only lose the bike,but a tree gets ruined.
    I don't have anything against an ordinance that establishes some ground rules for locking up to public property (and protecting trees).The only thing I take issue with is official or semi-official responses to a shortsighted lack of bike parking that punish the cyclists and fail to address the real problem-- lack of adequate bike parking. Put in bike parking sufficient to meet the demand, and the problem solves itself.

  17. #17
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    I live in kentwood, essentially a part of grand rapids, and they do have some odd laws, but unless the bike was sitting accross the sidewalk, there should be no issues. It's one of those 'laws' that are entirely up to the officers interpretation of it.

    Grand Rapids is also a heavily money oriented city, the city rents bike lockers downtown, so it would not be unexpected for them to pass a law restricting 'on street' parking.

    Ken.

  18. #18
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    I thought the ordinance was pretty clear.

    And please note that I did something to answer the OP's question. You've done nothing except hammer on me.
    It appears, but is not clear that you think it is illegal!

    If a cyclist parks his bicycle "upon a roadway", "against and parallel with the curb" and runs his chain through his bike around the lightpost on the sidewalk curb - is that legal or illegal? The cyclist has not violated any portion of the ordnance.

    The link you posted does not give a definative answer either way. It is possible that there may be another law that no one has yet found, that makes it very clear. If so, you should google it and post it.

    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder
    Google,what's that?.
    And your the one that gave the OP this snotty little comment!
    Last edited by CB HI; 05-30-08 at 04:45 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kendall View Post
    Grand Rapids is also a heavily money oriented city, the city rents bike lockers downtown, so it would not be unexpected for them to pass a law restricting 'on street' parking.
    My building has two bike racks in one of the garages (three floors of covered garages, one floor of open air parking.). There's WAY more demand for bike parking than there is rack space available, so the overflow from the bike racks is enormous. I've thought of asking the building manager to put more bike racks in, but the thing that holds me back is bike parking is free now (compared to $125/month for cars), and I understand that they're trying to make money off every space available. If I ask for more bike space, I may get it, but at a price-- no more free bike parking-- so I'm not sure I want to upset that apple cart.

    In Grand Rapids, it appears they've put in paid bike parking, and there's a certain logic to that-- parking a car parking costs money, so why shouldn't bike parking? The answer to that question is because for public policy reasons, we want to promote bicycling, but if public policy is not the primary goal, charging for bike parking has a certain logic...

  20. #20
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    hey, i was the friend who asked this question in the first place, thanks for your helpful suggestions and information. Just to be positive i'm going to ride over to the PD and ask. Here's the situation, the guy who told me to move my bike is the manager/owner of an upper scale clothing store in a very lower scale area (Eastown). I was going to a really grungy 24/7 coffee shop where all sorts of hooligans, anarchists, phreaks, junkies, liberals and radicals hang out at all hours. And the clothing store's demographic is very different from the coffee shop right next door. When i began to lock up my bike in front of his store (parallel to the curb, and not obstructing foot or vehicle traffic) he intimidated me into moving my bike around the block to the bike rack (made for about 4 bikes).

    What really gets me is that it's perfectly acceptable for gas-gusslers to park in front of his store, just not cyclists who are trying to be nice to the planet and save some money.

  21. #21
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    Call his bluff. Tell him that you will have him arrested if he steals your bike. He doesn't have a grinder that will break your u-luck. If he does manage to remove your bike, call the police. He doesn't own the sidewalk and he doesn't make the rules.

  22. #22
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    I just love shop owners that think they own the sidewalk and road in front of the store.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Sometime within the last year, I saw a paper attached to a bike chained to a tree outside Whole Foods in Portland's Pearl District. Somebody else saw it too, and wasn't shy about picking it up and reading it-- it was a warning from a private security firm that they would cut the locks of any bikes that aren't locked to bike racks.

    The problem is, there aren't enough bike racks to accommodate demand. And to add insult to injury, the neighborhood association has opposed efforts to increase bike parking by removing one curbside parking spot for cars and replacing it with curbside bike parking.

    So instead of pursuing the obvious solution-- creating enough bike parking space to meet the demand-- they hire rent-a-cops to go around and cut people's locks.

    I would find the firm, and in no uncertain or even civil terms, DARE them to cut my bike lock; their job is security, they have no legal authority to confiscate or damage property "in the execution of their duties". So unless my bike is a security risk to someone else, they have no call to to do more than look at it.

    Baldly said, the rent-a-cop who tries to cut my lock will face getting something else cut....

  24. #24
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATAC49er View Post
    I would find the firm, and in no uncertain or even civil terms, DARE them to cut my bike lock; their job is security, they have no legal authority to confiscate or damage property "in the execution of their duties". So unless my bike is a security risk to someone else, they have no call to to do more than look at it.

    Baldly said, the rent-a-cop who tries to cut my lock will face getting something else cut....
    This is almost certainly wrong. If you lock a bike on a tree in my yard, I certainly have the right to remove it. Or even to hire someone else to remove it. If you lock a bike to some part of whole food's property where they have prohibited bike parking, they have every right in the world (or at least in the US) to remove it. With the important proviso that they have to have clearly indicated that bike parking in the specific location is prohibited - which would seem to be the case in this situation.

  25. #25
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alhedges View Post
    This is almost certainly wrong. If you lock a bike on a tree in my yard, I certainly have the right to remove it. Or even to hire someone else to remove it. If you lock a bike to some part of whole food's property where they have prohibited bike parking, they have every right in the world (or at least in the US) to remove it. With the important proviso that they have to have clearly indicated that bike parking in the specific location is prohibited - which would seem to be the case in this situation.
    Local laws vary, but while you may have a right to remove the bike from your personal property, you may not have the right to destroy someone's property (i.e. cut the lock).

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